My Blog List

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Work stuff

This month started on a sour note. I almost quit my job last week.

Quit as in, throw my keys down on the manager's desk and walk out in the middle of a shift without a new job to go to. Which is completely out of character for me, but there's a limit to the emotional abuse one person can or should take at a job.

I won't go into details, but the assistant manager (one step above me on the chain of authority) is the most narcissistic, awful bully I've ever had the misfortune to know. I'm not exaggerating when I say he's probably leaning towards being a sociopath. The general manager, the one person in the store with authority over him, is a weak, easily influenced woman who avoids confrontation and ends up getting railroaded by this guy, too. A group of us, myself and the other merchandise manager, the community relations manager, and a handful of other people have started taking actual written notes of incidents when he mistreats us so we'll have documentation if we eventually end up going to HR. That's how bad things have gotten.

But back to last week. I experienced some really awful treatment and suddenly I was at the end of my rope. Just......done. I called my husband in tears and told him I was about to leave, that I had had enough of this shit and didn't plan to take it for another minute. He talked me down by saying that I shouldn't make such a huge decision when I was so emotional, and advised coming home and sleeping on it for a night before deciding. It was sensible advice and saved me from making a mistake, but a tiny part of me regrets not walking out in a blaze of righteous fury, never to return to that hateful, toxic environment ever again! But I'd have regretted being without an income and health insurance even more. Not to mention it's just not the right thing to do.

I did go confront the store manager that next time I saw her, and informed her that half the staff are documenting the ASM's abusive behavior. If it's not addressed, we'll have to go to HR. I told her how close I was to walking out the other night, and she stared at her feet and said, in a small voice, "Please don't do that." Since then, the jerk's behavior to me has been cold and aloof, which is just fine with me. He's leaving me strictly alone and that's a huge relief. And since I have the support of over half the staff who get treated the same way (the other half are too new to have experienced his abuse.....it should be no surprise that we have huge employee turnover) I don't feel completely powerless. Still, I dread going to work every single day and so do several other people there. It's such a shame, too, because we all agree that as retail jobs go ours can be pretty fun at times and most of us like each other.

Oh well, as Gregg keeps reminding me, if I keep up the serious job search, sooner or later the right position will come along and I'll get it. Then I can close the door on this chapter of my life and move on. What a happy day that will be!

Speaking of the job hunt, I'm about to begin a volunteer position with a non profit organization that I'm super excited about! It's called Reach Out and Read Carolinas. On Wednesday I'll be attending my first meeting of the Community Advisory Board for ROAR at McLeod Hospital here in Florence. McLeod pediatricians work with them to promote early literacy (reading with babies and toddlers) for improved cognitive development of their patients. Not only do I have a lot of affection for this organization and will be proud to do volunteer work with them, but I'm hoping to make my resume a bit more attractive and to demonstrate that I'm more well-rounded than my many years of retail management would suggest. I have a degree in Human Services, after all, but haven't had much opportunity to use it. And who knows where a volunteer position doing something I love might lead?

Somewhere good, I hope.


23 comments:

  1. What a nasty boss. Sometimes thinking about work I would tell myself "boss is a four letter word", ha! Good for your hubby for talking you down; when you leave it will be great to tell them about your great new job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping 2017 will be a good year; I plan to work hard to make it so.

      Delete
  2. So sorry for what you're experiencing, but I'm glad your husband talked you down. It feels great to walk out in righteous indignation, but you end up being the one who gets screwed. I admire you for talking to the store manager. I know that feeling of dread. For a year and half I was sole breadwinner in our house. I worked for an abusive company under hideous circumstances. The job market was dead (2008) and I stayed in that position for another year and half dreaded every single day. My heart is with you on this. I hope things settle down for a while and I look forward to the day you settle into a great situation and give that asst. manager the bird!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mitchell. I don't know of anyone who hasn't had a dreadful job or two by the time they reach middle age. I figure it's just part of life. I'm glad you got out of your last bad job! Life feels so much easier when your work is pleasant, or at least tolerable!

      Delete
  3. Work traps so many people. We have bills to pay. Yet the idea of flight can be very tempting indeed. Many's the time I wanted to walk out on it all but I had a mortgage, a wife and two growing kids. I simply had to steel myself and carry on - like the poster says "Keep Calm and Carry On".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the health care coverage that keeps me from walking out. Gregg earns enough money that we could squeak by while I looked, but I carry the insurance. Lucky for you, you live in England and have the NHS and don't have such worries!

      Delete
  4. I have always told people the job I would love would be to work in a Bookstore or Plant Nursery.
    As a commercial artist I have had my share of horrid bosses but not to the degree of your workplace. I used to shop at Borders all the time. The staff was always very eclectic. I am not sure what store you work for but when every I walked into the other bookshop it seemed very uptight and snooty. Many that is just corporate ? One way or the other this store vibe, needs to change.
    A bully is a bully.
    I am glad you didn't walk out and so happy you are recording this manager's action. This should be the first of your "legal" way to fight back.
    Happy to hear you have health, my daughter work so many jobs without that.
    I this the person gossip who was talking behind your back ?

    I know you are a strong person, tired but strong just wait till you all can kick him out.
    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many mistakes.... brain not working.

      Delete
    2. I've worked in a bookstore and a plant nursery, and the work itself is great at both jobs....the people, not so much.

      The person who was gossiping about me quit suddenly last month. No loss there!

      Delete
  5. Oh, dear. I quit a job once on the spur of the moment because I was mistreated (as were others). It was very upsetting to simply stop caring, but I absolutely couldn't take it another minute. I was okay because I was on my ex-husband's health insurance and we didn't need the money I earned. Are you actively seeking a different job, or do you have plans to do so? The volunteer work sounds great.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've scaled back the job search during the holidays but plan to start back up as soon as the new year begins.

      Delete
    2. That's good. Sometimes change is a must.

      Delete
  6. I really hope enough evidence is gathered on the obnoxious man. That is plain bullying and should not be tolerated in any workplace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's pretty awful. I've never met anyone with a bigger ego.

      Delete
  7. My wife once worked for some lawyers who made her life very unpleasant. She kept notes of all the nasty little jealous and sexist comments they made, then eventually quit and took them to court. She was awarded a pleasant sum!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I will keep you in my thoughts and put you on my new year's wish list too - wish Jenny gets the new job she so very much deserves. In the meantime the volunteering job will be a good opportunity for you to enrich your CV and to keep your mind off the negativity. A big hug.
    Greetings Maria xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Isn't it amazing how one single horrible person can poison an entire workplace? Going to HR with all your complaints seems like the sensible thing to do. Certainly that person can be dealt with, and if it means he has to go, then so be it.
    Trouble with such folk is that, even if you had walked out of your job that day, he would not have seen it as HIS fault, but yours.
    Gregg's advice to not make such a decision while you were so upset was very sound.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Re your above comment to YP. ( It wouldn't let me do a " reply" underneath!) The NHS has it's uses, but is very overstretched this last few years. Ambulance drivers have to wait in corridors with their seriously ill emergency patients for hours until they can be seen. Meanwhile, there are no ambulances free to answer calls. That is just one of the many problems. People wait months and months for non emergency operations, often in great pain. I can't get an appointment with my own doctor for several weeks if I have a problem. ..and so it goes on. I am lucky that I can afford private health insurance and I am covered if NHS can't help me within 6 weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. When I worked at the bank some years ago, there was a manager ( female) who " bullied" me. I was very unhappy, but didn't like to say anything in case it got worse. I told a colleague who knew this manager quite well from previous times, and against my wishes, she apparently said something to the horrid one. I didn't know this till much later, but she was much pleasanter to me until the final morning that she was leaving, when she was really nasty to me as I was 3 minutes late! This was actually 8.48 and we didn't start getting paid till 9 !! I hope that you can soon get another job, or the bully leaves soon.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What I always told my children as they entered the workforce is: Make yourself indispensable. They did so. What I did not tell them is personality problems in the ranks is mostly what caused me to go outdoors and be a gardener for 31 years. But they figured it out. Main thing is this: if you really object to something in administration, make a plan for profitable exit --your husband is quite right-- and, if told to do something that goes against your training (they understand "training" as it involves THEIR bosses too) you will get more respect if you say no than yes. It is at this summarily neglected level of daily life that personal freedom and civil rights have the greatest challenges and progress ahead of them. I wish you every success. Be careful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is so important to document these abuses. If there comes a time when you do go to HR, it will help you and your co-workers that you took the time to record the events.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jennifer, I will echo others' advice to keep specific notes documenting these negative situations and occurrences It's essential. Also, sometimes just the process of keeping such a record will help you to have different ways of looking at your workplace. Having worked so many decades in varying environments, I really counted my blessings that most were congenial and projective. Not all, though. xo

    ReplyDelete